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Question:  International ethics play an important role in relationship between two countries. Explain ethical dilemmas faced in international relations with suitable example.


Answer:  International ethics are moral values and guidelines that help in formulating relationship between two countries. International ethics has gained significance for its ability to influence global politics.

Importance of International ethics

  • Strengthening relationship
    It is necessary that relationship between two countries prosper. International ethics help in strengthening the relationship as it keeps contentious issues away.
    Ex: Avoiding Rohingya issue by India while maintaining cordial relationship with Myanmar.
  • Reducing clashes
    Clashes between ideology will always result in worsening of international relations. It is necessary that our ideology does not influence decision making.
    Ex: Secular ideology of India and Islamic ideology of Saudi Arabia.
  • Upholding moral values
    Morality can keep relationship from souring. It will ensure that both countries have a framework for addressing concerns.
    Ex: Upholding citizenship right of Lankan Tamils as a moral obligation of India and Sri Lanka.

Dilemma in International relations

  • Democratic chaos vs autocratic welfare
    Supporting democratic government of a foreign country that creates chaos or an autocratic government that violates all democratic obligation but looks after citizen welfare.
    Ex: Democratically elected but corrupt government of Pakistan or autocratic but citizen oriented Venezuelan government.
  • Ethical belief vs national interest
    Some international relationship has to be cultivated that may not be ethical but in national interest of the country. In such situation, one has to keep our moral obligations aside.
    Ex: India cultivated cordial relationship with Myanmar Junta even though they were involved in gross violation of democratic rights of their citizens.
  • Commercial interests vs bilateral obligation
    Sometimes commercial gains will have to be considered over bilateral relationship or vice versa. In such situations, it is necessary to be flexible.
    Ex: Investing in profitable petroleum extraction of Myanmar or in loss making but strategically important Sri Lankan airport.

Thus, ethics directs the international relations and obligations of two countries. Dynamic nature of international politics requires flexibility.

Updated on 01 Dec 2020 |   Added on .18 Nov 2020  |  by admin